Pinup vs. Preacher

Pinup vs. Preacher

Friday, October 24, 2008

Macomb County Commission race

District 16 pits racy incumbent vs. part-time minister

Jim Lynch / The Detroit News

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Call it the pastor vs. the pinup.

The District 16 race for Macomb County commission pits incumbent Democratic Commissioner Carey Torrice — who posed on national TV in a bikini — against the man she unseated two years ago, Republican William Revoir, a financial planner and part-time minister. And the two could not be more different.

In recent weeks, Torrice’s visibility has skyrocketed far beyond the boundaries of her northern Clinton Township district. Entertainment Web site posted racy photos of the 31-year-old and listed her among the nation’s “hottest” politicians. Soon after, the producers of Inside Edition came calling — airing a segment that featured Torrice in a yellow bikini, and holding a campaign sign.

And another picture of Torrice turned up on a Web site titled — something she said she never approved and had no connection with.

The Macomb County Republican Party has weighed in on that image, sending out a mailer to district residents that features an animated stripper dancing around a pole beneath the words “Hasn’t County Commissioner Carey Torrice caused Clinton Township taxpayers enough embarrassment?”

For her part, Torrice says people should be more interested in what she does than in what she wears.

“It’s disgusting and I think it shows very little class,” Torrice said of the mailer. “I don’t know why they keep deviating from the issues at hand. I guess my opponent is not concerned with issues, just what’s going on in my personal life.”

Her opponent said he had nothing to do with the mailer, but doesn’t separate himself from the message it contains.

Revoir, 54, is a self-employed financial planner and a part-time minister at Rockpointe Community Church in Sterling Heights. Before losing to Torrice in 2006, Revoir had served nearly six years on the county board of commissioners.

He uses his record in those years to draw a contrast between himself and his opponent.

“I was dedicated in my six years,” he said. “I was there every day — had a 100 percent attendance record. I never missed a meeting.”

Revoir criticized Torrice for missing a key meeting of the Health Services Committee on Oct. 2 in which potential cuts to the Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility were discussed. He said she skipped the meeting to attend a photo shoot in Ann Arbor.

“You are elected and then you are assigned to certain committees and it’s your job to be there,” Revoir said.

Torrice, however, said she was in Ann Arbor that day to meet with a production company about bringing more commercial filming opportunities to Macomb County. She had hoped to return in time for the committee meeting, but didn’t make it.

In campaign mode, Torrice is hardly a shrinking violet and is willing to raise some pointed issues of her own.

“What I’ve accomplished in two years he didn’t do in six years,” she said. “I’m not going to mudsling with him. I won’t do that. But he hasn’t accomplished anything.”

Torrice’s most high-profile efforts include leading the charge to make the Macomb County Animal Shelter a no-kill facility. She backed the controversial plan to save Martha T. Berry from sale or closure by placing administrative responsibilities in the hands of the county’s Social Services Board.

Asked for a list of his accomplishments in office, Revoir pointed to hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money he helped bring back to Clinton Township.

For Clinton Township resident Mary Ann Smith, Torrice’s actions don’t rise to the level of an “embarrassment” as county Republicans would suggest.

“I don’t particularly agree with what she has out on the Internet,” said the 50-year-old travel agent. “I don’t know if she’s looking for respect or what. But with people my age, she probably won’t get it that way.”

Smith added that she feels Torrice’s actions are a result of her age.

“I take it all with a grain of salt,” she said. “She’s young. She needs to rethink what she’s doing. But she’ll learn that as she gets older.”

You can reach Jim Lynch at (586) 468-0520 or [email protected]

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